the soap nut: mother nature’s natural, waste-free detergent.

Waste-free, renewable and toxic-free – it’s a wonder that we’re not using the soap nut in our laundry more often!


If you’re on the path toward an eco-friendly household, you can’t miss out on the soap nut. Mother Nature’s natural cleansing agent, they’re plastic-free, renewable, and do not pollute the environment! Toss them in your laundry and you’ve got clean sheets without having to worry about buying more detergent, or getting an allergic reaction. 

So if you’re looking to make your laundry days more eco-friendly, the soap nut is the best way to do that!

but what are soap nuts?

The soap nut comes from the dried fruit of the Ritha tree, a deciduous tree that grows in the lower foothills and mid hills of the Himalayas at altitudes of up to 1,200 metres. Also known as the Indian soapberry, washnut, ritha or Chinese soapberry, the soap nut has been used for thousands of years in China, India, and Tibet for its cleansing and medicinal properties. 

The best part? Even though they are called nuts, they are actually dried berries, making them a safe option for people with nut allergies!

using soap nuts. 

The soap nut’s shell contains a substance called Saponin, which is released when the nutshells absorb water. This creates a soaping effect that is 100% natural, biodegradable, and toxin-free (unlike many detergents)! Used most often in laundry, it can also be used for personal care like hair and body wash, cleaning jewellery, and other all-purpose household cleansing needs. 

If you’re looking to add the soap nut to your household routine, start with your laundry. There’s a reason most people use the nuts to wash their clothes – and it’s thanks to how easy they are to use!

Simply put 4-6 soap nuts in a washer bag (depending on your load), then toss the bag into your washing machine for the cycle of your wash. This includes the rinse and spin dry segments. You don’t even have to use fabric softeners since soap nuts are natural softeners! 

To produce extra fresh clothes, many often also add about ¼ to ½ a cup of baking soda to the wash to remove strong odours. A few drops of an essential oil can also be added if you miss the fragrant scent detergent leaves on your clothes.  

Then, once the wash is done, all you have to do is hang your soap nuts up to dry for your next use! They can be reused for up to 6 loads of laundry, so you’ll not only be using a greener alternative, you’ll also be saving money. 

saving the environment, one wash at a time. 

100% natural, soap nuts don’t pollute the environment since they’re a renewable resource that’s easily grown. They save water (you can choose to skip your rinse cycle since there is no need to wash off any detergent chemicals left on your clothes), and are perfect for those who suffer from allergies, skin, neurodermatitis or eczema.

But beyond staying almost waste-free, soap nuts also help the environment after their use in the wash – they’re compostable and are safe to use in septic tanks. Staying green from start to end!


Enjoyed this article? Check out these 7 underrated plant shops in Singapore, or learn more about why you should visit Singapore’s mangroves!

siti ayeeshah zaki

Writer, dreamer and explorer. When she’s not writing for Strada Visual Lab, Ayeeshah spends her time reading, skating and living life to her definition of fullest.

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